Why state policy work matters: Medicaid

Most political reporting is focused on the comings and goings in Washington, but the truth is that a lot of the most important policy decisions are taken at the state level. Take Medicaid: the Federal government funds the program, but state legislatures decide eligibility levels. The safety net might be paid mostly with Federal dollars, but it is the people in Hartford, Austin, Albany, Madison or Montgomery that decide who has access to it.

Paul Waldman, at the American Prospect, illustrates this reality:

medicaid_eligibility_by_state_ii

The numbers above are the income limit to apply for Medicaid for a family of three. Connecticut's are more than ten times higher than Arkansas. At least in Little Rock this will change soon, as the state has signed up for the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (starting January 1, the income limit there will be the same as in Massachusetts). Many of the stingiest states, however, are not participating, so in some corners of the country families will have well below the poverty line to qualify for health insurance.

That's one of the reason why CAHS does so much policy work at the state level, and that's why what we do in Connecticut matters. It is the state who decides how generous our safety net will be, not just Washington.

We work every day to make Connecticut a better place. Our policy work has helped  improve the safety net on our state in many ways, from the state EITC to Care for Kids. If you believe that our work is important, please donate.

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